The Detroit Lions have unseated longtime president and GM Matt Millen. Sports enthusiast are aware that this was part of the vestige from William Ford Jr.'s comments on (i think) Monday. Millen has held the position since 2001, however to the disdain of many fans for the last few years. At this junction it is unclear if Millen begrudgingly left or if his term was truncated by father Ford. Nonetheless three weeks into the 2008-2009 NFL season he is gone (or exiled). The Lions are a NFL worst 31-84 across Millen's tenure.
I will state this disclaimer first: I do not follow the Lions like most people in Detroit, however i follow every team if that makes sense. I cannot say with 100% certainty that Millen was the exact cause of the downtrodden franchise. Some of his moves are obviously bad but i don't know if they were that egregious. For instance, Lions have had, i believe, four coaches in his tenure (Marinelli, Mornhinweg, Mariucci, Jauron), none of them were bad coaches though. Apparently Millen has an affinity for the letter M, but i digress, Marinelli who is currently seated as head coach came from a relatively prosperous team in Tampa Bay who won the Superbowl in 03. The pillar of that team was its defense, especially the defensive line (Sapp, Simien-Rice, McFarland) and guess what Marinelli was the defensive line coach. Mariucci, took the 49ers to multiple playoff appearances, albeit never reaching the Superbowl. The height of his success was the NFC Championship game. Jauron was mildly successful with the Chicago Bears, even though i think he only took them to the playoffs once in a short stint, but he really doesn't count because he was just a temporary replacement. Mornhinweg was supposed to be from this transcendent line of NFL coaching glory, the Mike Holmgren lineage, so i can't really fault him for trying that out either. Now Mornhinweg is the Offensive coordinator at Philly, and us football fans know their offense gets busy! So with the coaches i don't see any deplorable decisions but i have never worked for an NFL franchise and don't know the undercurrent of the business.
Im not in the Detroit Lions War Room on draft day when they select their draft picks but the common notion is that he is largely responsible for those too, so i will go with that theory. The first blunder was Joey Harrington, who was highly successful in college at Oregon, led them to a Fiesta Bowl win (which is pretty impressive) and Pac-10 champs, the boy looked good. I won't go through every draft pick, because most of them are solid, but the two draft picks that people harp on are Charles Rogers and Mike Williams. Anyone who watched Michigan St. football has to lay off Millen on this pick, Charles was easily one of the best college receivers of his decade. He won the Fred Biletnikoff award for the best receiver in the NATION that year, he broke MSU's record for touchdowns in a career and receiving yards in a game with 270. In fact the Lions would have been silly to pass on him. Mike Williams was a beast at USC as well, in fact i remember vividly calling my dad while i was at work and he was in the car with uncle Roy and i was excited for the Lions because they just drafted Mike Williams. As a freshman Williams set a Pac-10 freshman record with 14 touchdowns and 1,265 yards (18 years old). The next year he had 16 touchdowns, they only played 13 games, and he amassed 1,314 yards. The only thing incredulous about him was that he had to sit out of football that one year because he tried to follow Maurice Clarett who challenged the NFL's rule to be eligible for the draft (3 years removed from high school or age 21) who lost that decision. Both receivers are currently unemployed, i actually feel bad for them for being selected by the Lions. The rest of the draft selections are typical for what they are.
However personally i think the franchise is just cursed. Matter of fact look it up, THE CURSE OF BOBBY LAYNE. I understand that there is no excuse for the futility the organization has displayed, especially in proportion to the fan support. But honestly, i don't think it was Millen's fault, whom ever was in his position was going to have to succumb to the curse. Or maybe he was part of the curse. I also understand that as a business you have to what you can to save face with your customers (or the fans), because if you lose the fan base then you will lose out as well, simple business concept, i think. However the curse should be over after this season, so perhaps the Lions will begin to turn it around.